ebooks and the internet

There’s an interesting article in today’s Guardian about ebooks:

https://apps.facebook.com/theguardian/books/2012/feb/15/book-internet-merge

I must admit, I’m using ebooks more and more. It’s so easy to look for a book, click, download it and start reading. I can have the book on my phone as well as my iPad. Recently, I was meeting someone for coffee, I got there a bit early, and while I was waiting I could have a read of my current book without having to think in advance that I should put a book in my bag.

There are, though, a couple of things that they still need to sort out:

  • you can’t yet buy a book to gift to someone. My Dad (who has Parkinson’s) now has the Kindle app on his computer screen and it’s easy for him to read the text without having to hold a book or device, but I can’t send him a book as a gift
  • likewise, when you’ve read the book you can’t pass it on. They need to find a way to make second-hand ebooks available

I’ve been mulling over the possibilities of publishing course notes as an e-book; still not sure that it would add anything to the way we do things just now. However, if it were possible to have a whole collection and then the notes bring it together, much like having a webpage that has a series of links except the links would be to journal articles and books, then perhaps it would be a useful academic tool. It would be like the library part of a course. Would it, however, make students lazy? Would they then be unable to search for their own references?

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One thought on “ebooks and the internet

  1. Since the advent of information technological communication, much debate has risen concerning the replacement of ebooks over printed books. Therefore , McGuire’s idea is not new. However, it does make sense that the distinction between printed books and eBooks is economic rather than educational.
    For the time being, the choice made between printed books and elearning in most institutes has been largely cost-based. Development of elearning platforms cost much more than books.But will it last for long? I admit that some have thought about replacing printed books because of a number advantages of ebooks, say, convenience.
    Although traditional publishing industry is referred to with harsh words as “Outdated business model of publishing”, and related to “stone age” in the article, the disadvantages of books are obvious, when compared with ebooks.
    However, books are just part of but not everything in education. “free knowledge that threatens their power” is plausible, and the belief of “book-as-object” seems out of fashion, but how can ebooks really go that far to achieve educational inequality due to institutional and social stereotype?

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